Friday, December 19, 2008

Appreciating our kid-decorated tree

Last weekend we got the tree up and decorated. The kids were so excited!

My camera was left in the car and got foggy, but I think this is cute. Rachel's idea!

It was all I could do to get the ornaments out, hooks on, and try to keep the little ones away from the irreplaceable and breakable ones - good luck, right? My children are very energetic (to put it nicely), so with all four working, it was pretty chaotic. We blew threw the ornaments in record time and sat back to look at the tree. It was about the ugliest decorated tree! The kids had put ornaments all together on parts of the tree. This weighed down the branches and left huge holes in the tree. I think it drove Dave a little crazy, but I thought it was fun to watch the kids put the ornaments wherever they wanted. Rachel has a "more the merrier" personality, and you can definitely see that in how she put her ornaments up. This was one of her sections. They were all right next to each, but she thought that looked beautiful.

Here we have 9 ornaments on one branch!

My crazy Zack!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ho Ho Ho

Well, we went for our annual photo with Santa at the mall. I try to remember to get there in November, but, alas, that was not to be this year. The kids got out at noon the other day, so we decided to try to beat the public school kids to the mall. We had to wait 30 minutes. Not too bad, and I got all 4 kids in a Santa picture. That's a first!

While at the mall, I decided to do some shopping that I could only accomplish at the mall. Amazingly, the kids were pretty good. Of course, we get one nasty lady muttering loudly as she walked away, "what misbehaved children!" I wish I had yelled after her, "Merry Christmas to you, too!" In her defense, Matthew did kick in anger as she walked by and hit her packages and my other three were having a great time riding the mechanical horse machines at Brookstone (very fun!), but I just had to laugh because it had been such a pleasant time at the mall so far. Oh well.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!

I love Thanksgiving. There's nothing to do except eat - maybe watch some football (although this year it was hardly worth watching), play some football, especially with the perfect weather we had this year, and hang out with family. I love cooking and hanging out with my mom in the kitchen. And, Thanksgiving gives us the perfect opportunity to just do this.

This year was particularly fun and a little more hectic because we had my brother's 5-month old triplets with us.

Josie, Mia and Marcus

The babies were a little off schedule in the night, but they were perfect little angels during the day. They always had someone to hold them and new people to look at. They are so sweet.

Mia and Marcus

Alex was really interested in "the boy." He just kept asking which one was the boy. That was the only one he wanted anything to do with.


Rachel lived the girls - big surprise! She really got Josie laughing at her here. It was so adorable.

We spent a lot of time and effort trying to get all our group pictures. Getting 7 kids to cooperate was quite a challenge.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Zack's Trophy

If you haven't heard, Zack loved soccer. He would cry when Alex had practice and he didn't or if the games got rained out. He would count down the days until Saturday when the games were and then hour by hour until his game started. It really was almost an obsession. Well, clearly he loves his trophy because he has to sleep with it every night. It is just so classic Zack.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Poor Alex

Somehow Alex fell into the coffee table last night. He claims it was all Rachel's fault, and Rachel says she has no idea how it happened. I'm guessing it is something in the middle. His cheek swelled up huge and got a bruise right away. We applied ice, but this is the next day. Alex is known for telling some stories, so hopefully we won't have Child Protective Services on our doorstep after he spins some crazy story to his teacher : )

Hare-brained ideas

With Rachel around, you can bet that there are ideas flying left and right. Some of them are down right crazy and make me scratch my head.

The other day, I was in her room looking for something. I found wrappers from Halloween candy all over her room, even in her bed. I was very upset because I thought she had eaten all this candy until I looked under her bed and found two of these containers full of unwrapped candy. By this point, it was covered in dirt and dog hair - definitely not edible. So, I asked Rachel, what she was thinking. After a lot of working to get it out of her, she said they were mixing their candy together. I don't think she realized that I was going to just dump it all in the trash. This is just so Rachel that I needed to capture it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Antics

We had a good time this Halloween. The kids just picked their costumes out at Target. Rachel picked this "USA Diva" costume, basically because it was glittery. Alex picked the Ninja costume because he wanted something scary. Zack picked the Transformer costume just because he liked it. And, it took until about half way through trick-or-treating before he finally remembered what costume he had. Matthew was supposed to be Mickey, but he didn't want to put it on. So, he picked this Flame costume that Alex wore last year. (Note that Matthew at 2 is wearing the costume that Alex wore at 5)

We spent Halloween with Tara and her family. The kids played the game where you have to eat the donut off the string without using your hands.

Rachel finally figured a great strategy by using her shoulder.

Of course, Matthew didn't see much point in following the rules.

St. Bernadette

Rachel had to dress up like St. Bernadette for school and give a speech about her life.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Goblin Gallop

The kids and Dave ran in the Goblin Gallop race this weekend with Tara's family. The kids ran a 1K (about 1/2 a mile). We were excited to see Brendan close to the front of the pack - he finished 3rd. And, then Rachel came in shortly thereafter (10th, I think).

Here's Alex, not that far behind. Check out the size of the kids he was running with.

Then, we've got Zack and Dave.

And, finally, Ryan and little Lauren.

Dave and Tara ran the 5K, but I didn't get any pics. The kids were too busy in the moonbounce, so I missed Dave and just barely saw Tara finish. Oh well. It was a fun race for the kids. Brendan's ready for the 5K next year!

Monday, October 27, 2008

No school -- better find something to do

We had a day off, so I decided to get the kids out of the house. We went to High School Musical 3 at the theater. The kids really enjoyed it, even Matthew. Zack especially enjoyed the popcorn, which he kept eating from the spilled masses on the floor. I hear the "eeewwww", but this is better than some of the things he's eaten off the floor.

Then, we headed to a small farm with a hayride, slides, swingset, animals, and a fire pit to roast marshmallows. The kids had a great time with very little complaining or fighting. It was definitely one of those days I just loved my kids and having the chance to do that with them.

The best pumpkin

Zack brought home about the cutest pumpkin I've ever seen from school today. I just thought I'd post a pic.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Our new neighbors?

Alice and Chris spent a long weekend with us for Alice's reunion and a little house hunting. We're getting hopeful that might be making the move up here this summer. While they were here, Chris got to enjoy having boys around to play and watch football with.

Alex with Baby Ella

My crazy children went in the pool even though the water was in the mid-60's.

Matthew's First Accident

So, Wednesday morning Matthew was helping me make eggs, like most mornings. After I took off the hot pan of eggs, he reached over and smacked the burner with his hand. He immediately started screaming. He cried and cried for the next hour and a half as we sat with his hand under water. I had to go pick up Zack, so I had to lug him with a bucket of water for his hand to school. We kept his hand under the water for a total of 5 hours before the pain seemed to go away. He even fell asleep sitting on my lap with his hand hanging into the sink. He would instinctively put it into the water stream if it slipped out. It was so sad. It was so pruney from the water that I could not appreciate how bad it looked until I decided to take these pictures. Now, we're trying to keep it wrapped - difficult task for a 2-year old - and hope the blisters don't get infected when they pop.

Sports, again - this time softball

So, if it seems like all I write about it sports, well, that seems to be the biggest part of our life. We've finally gotten Rachel's softball season going after the rain that ruined the fields. She had a great game this past weekend. She got two great hits and got the game ball from her coach. We were very proud of her. Her team fought back from a big deficit to win 8-7 in the last inning. It was actually very exciting.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What a Great Sports Day!

Well, this was such a great day for sports in our family. Grammy and Papa drove all the way up here just so they could watch the kids play, which the kids were so excited about. They even seemed to understand the significance of them driving so far just for them. So, naturally, I was hoping for a good day.

It started off with Alex's game. Although his team was the better team, it was a close game. Alex (aka Raz - his chosen name since there were 2 Alex's on his team) played really well and scored his first, and the team's winning, goal in the last few minutes of the game. It was very exciting.

Unfortunately, we did miss out on Rachel's game because her field was too wet to play on. But, we took the kids to a pumpkin patch to entertain them.

Then, we headed to Zack's game. It was a romp. They won 13-1. Zack scored 4 goals pretty quickly, including this one and had to be held back a little to play defense.

Then, just to make it really exciting, UVA, despite being the big underdog, pulled off a 31-0 win. My parents headed down to the game that day, but we had to just follow it on the internet. But, boy, that was exciting. I wish we could have been there.

10 years and going strong

Well, even though this is a post mostly about the kids, I will comment on our 10 year anniversary. We actually got some portraits done for a picture frame that Dave put together for me. We didn't get to go away for our anniversary. We did that in June when we went to Vegas, but we enjoyed a relaxing evening out without the kids. I'm loving having a regular babysitter finally!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Different strokes for different folks

So, I was thinking about something that I wanted to remember about Alex, and as this is pretty much my journal, here goes...

I don't know if you've heard this story (no idea if it is true or not). A couple was having breakfast on their 50th anniversary. The man made toast for them and gave his wife the end piece of bread while taking a middle piece for himself. The wife asked him why after all these years of giving her the end piece, he couldn't even give her the middle piece on their anniversary, of all days. He replied that he always gave her that piece because it was his favorite.

When I heard that story, I thought it was crazy. Who would want the end piece? Well, apparently Alex. He gets excited when he gets that piece. It's cute.

Monday, September 22, 2008

And, finally, our littlest man

Matthew is a handful. He is so sweet and adorable. He loves his bunny and big bear and sucks his thumb in a sweet way when he is tired. But, he is very opinionated and determined. He gets into everything that he is not supposed to. At Grandma and Paka's house, he is happy and content because he can be outside wandering around and keeping busy. But, we bring him home, and he is dumping out spices, digging into the peanut butter, throwing things just to see what happens when they hit the tile floor (hey, some break), flushing different things down the toilet, beating up on Zack, Alex or Rachel, etc., etc., etc. It is a non-stop job to follow him around and keep him entertained and out of trouble. And, it does not help that he is smart enough to figure out all the childproof locks and brave enough to climb up chairs and tables to get to what he wants.

He's got great hand/eye coordination, though. He can drop kick a ball, toss himself a baseball to hit with a bat or tennis racquet. He loves to play any sport and will do it for hours. I wish I had the time and energy to do that over and over again for hours because he loves it. It's going to be fun watching him play sports over the years.


While Rachel is very much like me and Alex is like Dave, Zack is his own person. He is a very intense kid. He is very focused on what he is doing and always thinking. He loves numbers and obsesses about them - how much gas do we have left, what time is it, what is 845 + 36, on and on. He is hilarious, though, because if you ask him what 845+36 is, he'll say, with all the confidence in the world, "86". If he doesn't know the answer, he'll guess and almost make you believe that he got it right.

Zack is also super observant. I consider myself observant, but he puts me to shame. We'll get home from somewhere, and he'll ask me about the woman that was wearing blue or the kid with the round nose. I just have to assume he's right. And, when I've had the chance to verify his observations, he is always right. He just notices everything and remembers it.

I'll post a picture of him with his glasses because he is so cute with them. Of course, I have to get them adjusted first because after just a few weeks, they are already crooked. Oh well.

My funny man

Alex is a jokester. He's got some crazy faces and loves to be silly. He is also what we call mini-Dave. He looks like him, is smart like him, is intense about things (like computer games) just like Dave, and just acts like him in almost every way. About the only thing I think he gets from me is his sense of worry. He stresses about things a lot - like being late or running out of gas when we still have 30 miles left, etc. Not the best trait to get from me, but at least I know that he is mine.

Alex is a sharp soccer player. He is relatively short for the league he is in, but he gets right in there and gets control of the ball. He has great ball control and great smarts about the game. It's fun to watch him play.

You can see some of his soccer skills here, including his great centering pass (no one on his team was in position, unfortunately), but you also see their star take it down the field and score - too lazy to cut the video.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Portraits - My sweet Princess

Although Rachel has grown out of "Princess" stuff and even given away most of her dress-up stuff, she still loves to be girly. She gets dressed up in pretty clothes to go everywhere, and always wonders aloud if her cousins or friends (girls or boys) will find her outfit beautiful. She hasn't quite figured out that Brendan (8 years old) or any boy for that matter is likely to comment on her outfit, even if they happen to notice it.

Rachel and I are a lot alike and even butt heads over it, but I love having a daughter like her. She is full of grand ideas that build and build with hours and hours of work, and then, she just moves on to something else with no thought of it. The only problem is she usually wants me to help make costumes or write songs or build sets for some play or movie she's working on that I know will most likely never happen. It's a hard balance to keep her happy and encourage her without wearing myself out for nothing. But, it all reminds me of myself as I kid. I know I made my parents come watch play after play that I thought were masterpieces but were probably almost painful to watch.

She's a lot of fun and very photogenic.

Our portrait session - the 4 kids

We had a great portrait session. The kids were pretty good and cooperated. I had so many different pictures to choose from that I had trouble deciding. Here are a couple of my favorites:

I loved this picture because they are just having fun.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Zack's first soccer game

Zack was SO excited about his first soccer season. He asks everyday how many days until he gets to practice. He gets very upset that Alex gets to practice twice a week when he only gets to practice once. So, it was no surprise when he woke up on Saturday just overjoyed. He almost without fail comes in our bedroom in the morning (because he is almost always the first one up) and asks, "What's on the menu for breakfast? Pancakes?" But, not this Saturday. He asked if I would help him get dressed with his shin guards and shoes - at 7 in the morning! I put him off a little because his game was not until 10:30, but he checked the clock and lamented the time every few minutes for the entire morning. This is not an exaggeration either - every few minutes.

He had to sit out the first part of the game - pure torture! But, finally, he got to go in and sure enough within a minute, Zack had scored his first goal.

He got the ball and headed down the field...

I missed the actual shot, but he just made the goal....

After this display of good soccer, I began videotaping. Of course, he never scored again, but almost. Here's a short video of his soccer skills. The video ended early, but it went just wide right.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The triplets

My brother, Max, and his wife, Karla, had 3 little angels on June 29th. I finally was able to get down to visit them this weekend. They are so adorable, but they have gotten so big. All 3 of them were bigger than all of my kids when they were born. I had been hoping to see these teeny-tiny babies, but I just couldn't get down there earlier.

I don't know how they manage down there, but I'm impressed. I wish I lived closer to give them more support. If you're interested in their progress, you can check out Karla's blog at

Here's Rachel feeding Miss Mia.

She was the first one out, but she is a little peanut. She has very petite features and seems to be easygoing (for now, anyway).

Marcus was next, and he is a lot bigger. He reminded me of Rachel as a baby. He couldn't stop wiggling and trying to see what was going on. He also has a little spit-up problem : )

Then, there's Josie. She likes to be held and would make that known the second you put her down.

I didn't get a picture of them together. I should have done it when we first got there because they were all awake and happy. That was the only time for the entire 9 hours we were there. Like I said, I don't know how they do it.